asked the Minister for Labour what measures are taken to ensure that apprentice electricians are fully qualified at the end of their apprenticeship period.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Apprentice Electricians.
Responsibility for apprenticeship training is given to AnCO under the provisions of the Industrial Training Act, 1967. AnCO has laid down minimum educational standards for entry to apprenticeship. Employers must satisfy AnCO that they have the necessary facilities for providing suitable on-the-job training. Employers are required to release their apprentices to attend suitable courses of instruction at vocational schools. During apprenticeship, the progress of the apprentice is supervised by AnCO staff. These arrangements apply fully to apprentice electricians.
The whole system of apprenticeship training is being reviewed by AnCO to ensure it is kept in line with technological and other developments. A recent innovation is the provision on a pilot basis of full-time training in AnCO training centres for first year apprentices to certain trades, including electrician. I understand that the question of requiring apprentices to do a trade test at the end of the period of apprenticeship will be considered in the course of the review by AnCO.
Is it a fact that at the moment when an apprentice electrician finishes his time he is not subject to any test?
That is true.
Is it the intention of the Minister to introduce such a test to ensure that the man is qualified for the job?
I am sure the Minister will agree that while one apprentice may be an expert after a certain number of years it is quite possible that another may not and that the number of years spent in serving an apprenticeship is no criterion of the ability of the man to do the job.
While there is not a test at the moment, I think there should be because most countries have such but it is not correct to say that apprentice electricians are allowed out without an assurance that they have attained a standard of efficiency which would enable them to take up employment of a suitable type.
Is there any supervision?
Question No. 10 postponed.